A new Verdantix report, “Global Survey 2014: Sustainability Budgets and Priorities,” finds that leaders in sustainability are gaining more influence. Verdantix analysts interviewed senior sustainability professionals from 260 firms around the world. They represented more than 13 countries and 21 industries. 

The report finds that sustainability leaders are being heard at the very top levels of their organizations. A whopping 92% report directly to the CEO or a member of the top executive group.  And there's more investment in sustainability.  Sustainability spending across an entire organization is up to 10 times higher than the sustainability leader’s budget. That means investment is not just coming from budget earmarked for managing sustainability. Two-thirds of the respondents expect company-wide spending figures to grow in the future. 

Where is the money being focused? About 28% of budget is being spent on employees. EH&S, energy, and sustainability reporting spending are also a priority.

CEO's are seeing how sustainability issues impact the bottom line and are giving it greater priority. Sustainability professionals are more influential than ever with more authority over strategic decisions and budgets. It will be interesting to see how these trends at companies with a strong focus on sustainability influence the rest of the business community and the future direction of incorporating sustainability into business practices.